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The Great Falls Symphony heats up Centene Stadium with Summer Pops concert on Thursday

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Orbit prepares for the Summer Pops concert by warming up his violin. Courtesy photo
Orbit prepares for the Summer Pops concert by warming up his violin. Courtesy photo

The Great Falls Symphony and the Great Falls Voyagers team up for the first time ever to present a grand slam event with a healthy dose of Americana filled with music, food and baseball-themed fun.

The Summer Pops concert starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Centene Stadium in Great Falls with opening music from the Great Falls Municipal Band led by Bud Nicholls. The orchestra, led by maestro Gordon Johnson, starts playing at 7.

Johnson said some of the music on the docket includes the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by 14-year-old Veronica Siebert, who will be joined on stage later in the show by her mother Mary, as the two perform a track off of her new album “Buffalo Gals.”

Johnson said Siebert’s album of cowboy songs comes out next week, so this will be a great preview of that along with the main course of music from the orchestra.

Gordon Johnson
Gordon Johnson

Mary is a National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and has appeared with the Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, the New Orleans Opera, Opera Delaware, the Grand Teton Music Festival among others. She was raised in Missoula. You can follow her on Twitter here. 

After the National Anthem, Johnson said the symphony will play a selection of Americana classics such as “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and the always popular Armed Forces salute where they invite anyone in the crowd who has served in the military to stand up and be recognized by the audience. The orchestra, too, will perform a song from the musical “Chicago,” in homage to the Voyagers’ parent team, the Chicago White Sox.

The show also will feature Chris Evans, the official Voice of the Voyagers, reading the classic poem “Casey at the Bat,” along with some interaction between he and and the orchestra.

Johnson said he and the orchestra are excited at the opportunity this new partnership with the Voyagers provides.

” For us, the symphony, this is a wonderful opportunity to partner with the Voyagers,” he said. “And being that we are on their turf, literally, it just opens up opportunities for me and the orchestra in terms of programming.”

Carolyn Valacich, executive director for the symphony, said the partnership first developed after she and the symphony board Summer pops posterdiscussed ways to change up the summer pops concert, which formerly was held at the Mansfield Center, and before that was at Gibson Park.

She said after receiving a call from Scott Reasoner, new general manager of the Voyagers, about making use of the stadium when the team was on the road, the decision was made to move the summer show to the stadium. Johnson said he’s glad they can now make  it an outdoor show, something he’s felt it should have always been.

Valacich added that not only is it a new venue, but they’re also emphasizing that it’s a bigger show all around.

“I think it will be a real positive partnership for both the Voyagers and the Symphony and hopefully we’ll get some new people to the ballpark and the ballpark can bring some new people to the symphony,” she said. “And you know, it’s a much bigger deal this year.”

While most of the tables on the infield are sold out, Valacich said there are still plenty of general admission seats available for $5 per person.

There will be food and drinks available and handicapped accessible seating, as well.  Some of the food available includes chicken strips, nachos, corn dogs, beer barons and hamburgers.

For more information, or to order advanced tickets, visit gfsymphony.org. Also check out the Symphony’s Twitter page here.

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